I don’t typically interrupt my Happy Tuesday’s with a serious post, but this is a must read.
Sarah Cunningham posts a challenging, insightful, and damning blog at @ POTSC.com. Check it out.
Doubletakes: The Infant in the Panhandler http://bit.ly/hJBrXc
I think I may be picking up “Picking Dandelions” off of my shelf to read after finishing Willard’s “Renovation of the Heart”.
If I ever take the time to learn an instrument it would be guitar, or banjo, or the fiddle. I just love the strings. Until then I’ll just listen and watch in awe those whom God has allowed to do this…
As I was preparing a homily for the Maundy Thursday service I was led to reflect upon the one who betrayed Jesus. We typically reflect upon the “Last Supper” and the events that follow seemingly quickly after that last intimate moment that Jesus has with His 12 disciples. For some reason I was drawn to reflect on Judas. Even in my own mind it seemed too controversial to share with a congregation that would consist mainly of people who, in my mind, could be easily offended. On Wednesday, I was convinced that Judas was exactly who I needed to analyze in the light of Jesus.
In a brilliant marketing move Lady Gaga released her second single from her forthcoming album “Born This Way,” entitled “Judas,” in the middle of Holy Week. It has catapulted her into competing with Rhianna for the number one spot on the pop charts Roman Catholics were immediately outraged as the former Catholic school girl turned bad girl made the move. In the lyrics Lady Gaga professes her love, not for Jesus, but for Judas. To turn it up a notch the shock-pop princess portrays Mary Magdalene in the music video as the one professing her love for the one who betrayed Jesus. I think Madonna might be a little envious of the antics. The director, Laurieann Gibson, even confesses that God somehow inspired and worked on the hearts of the people who worked on the video.
While, at first, it seems like a valid thing to be upset about I am more upset at the fact that those who the media choose to represent Christians act so upset.
The reality is that we should expect nothing else. The lost, those whose hearts have chosen the affection of self rather than God, should behave no other way if they are to be true to who they really are.
The fact is that Lady Gaga, by being honest about how the culture feels about Jesus, is closer to being transformed by Christ than if she continued to promote a lie that she really liked Jesus. In essence it is a confession of just how wicked the hearts of mankind are in light of the goodness of God. The reality is that the world loves Judas…the world is Judas.
Why is it that we would expect someone in the world to profess anything but love for the one in whom Satan entered?
In my study here are four somewhat sobering things I think we can learn through the life of Judas.
1. It is possible to experience God and still betray Him. While we do not hear much about Judas we can assume that he was present for miracles from feeding to resurrection. We can assume that he was one of the 12 sent out to perform miraculous deeds and preach as recorded in Luke. It is sobering to note that a miracle worker and a preacher also became a betrayer condemned to Hell.
2. It is possible to seem as though we follow Jesus and yet be alienated from other followers and thus isolated from receiving or giving the love He commands. It’s interesting in John 13 that Jesus gives his new command to “love one another” after Judas leaves the meal. Jesus knew the command would have fallen on deaf ears with Judas in the room, and by excusing him prior to giving the command makes complete sense. Judas was in the presence of Jesus, is noted as an apostle, and one of the 12 most intimately instructed by Jesus and yet no one knows Judas. No one could put their finger on who it might be to betray. Judas refused to share his struggle within the context of the fellowship of men he was hanging out with for three years, and it eventually leads to his ultimate destruction.
3. The Holy Spirit is far better than the physical Jesus when it comes to following Jesus. Jesus knew it, the Father knew it, the disciples knew it, but I’m not so sure that we know it. We often make the excuse that it would be easier to follow Jesus if He were still here. If we just got the face to face commands it would be easier for us to follow. In our use of that excuse we come very close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. If we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, then how much more intimate could we be with Christ?
4. Our physical presence in church is not a guarantee of our eternal destination. This might be a no brainer for most of us, but the reality is that while many say with their mouth that they love Jesus their actions betray them. Their heart is, in reality, far from God and remains in an untransformed and rebellious state. Their unwillingness to admit the truth or even to try to discover it may eventually lead them to a fate similar to that of Judas.